FRANKFORT, Ky. — Buffalo Trace Distillery has been named Distiller of the Year by Whisky Magazine. 

Along with the award, many of the Frankfort distiller’s products also received high marks among the best bourbons and whiskeys around the world. 

What You Need To Know

  • Buffalo Trace Distillery was awarded Distiller of the Year 

  • Master Distiller Harlem Wheatley has been with Buffalo Trace for 27 years 

  • Buffalo Trace saw nearly 400,000 tourists last year

  • People can do tastings and learn about the process behind their products 

With over two hundred years of history, and a million barrels, Buffalo Trace has been home to Master Distiller, Harlem Wheatley, for nearly 27 years. 

“I’ve seen a lot of things with the industry change,” Wheatley said. “We’re in the middle of the biggest expansion ever at this distillery and it’s just been kind of fun to be part of.”

Born and raised in Kentucky, Wheatley got into the spirits industry after learning the history behind bourbon and whiskey products. 

“We’re in warehouse C, which is one of our older warehouses and, E.H. Taylor built this warehouse and he used this at that time in the 1800s to make some of his whiskies and we still use it today to make E.H Taylor,” Wheatley said. 

Bourbon fans are able to tour the facility and taste Buffalo Trace products, which Wheatley said gives them a chance to show everything they’ve worked so hard for. 

“When a person shows up, they don’t really know what to expect but when they leave, I think they get an appreciation for the craft of distilling and all the things that go into it which is a lot and we try to show people a little bit everything,” Wheatley said. 

Last year, the distillery saw nearly 400,000 people through their tours and tastings. All along the way, Wheatley collected feedback for ways to make their products even better. 

“We’ve tried different experiments and they’re in here on different floors and we’ve got about 20,000 barrels in here,” Wheatley said. 

Even during the pandemic, Wheatley said their employees worked hard to continue their expansion, creating new products and ideas every day. 

It’s the people that come through daily tours that remind Wheatley and employees how rewarding their work is. 

Continuing to expand, Buffalo Trace Distillery is constructing new warehouses every four months, each containing nearly 59,000 barrels.